Batman Eternal has had a lot of fun dipping into Gotham’s mythology and pulling out a nigh-Murderer’s Row of threats to keep the Dark Knight and his crimefighting family busy, but it’s always been obvious from the delicious tease in the first panel of the first issue that Scott Snyder had big plans for the future of comics’ most dangerous city. This week, we start seeing the beginning of those plans come to fruition. But does the creative team do justice to the vision for Snyder’s payoff?
James Tynion IV, Snyder’s co-consiprator in the book’s “master plan”, appropriately returns to script this installment. At first, it comes across as merely a “clean-up” story, exploring the small details from the fallout of some major plots being tied up in the past couple of issues. However, things get messy really quick. Batman “has a few words” with a twice defeated Carmine Falcone only to find out that shit is going to get worse before it ever gets better. And HOLY SHIT it does indeed get worse. As it turns out, the conspiracy to topple the forces of good in Gotham runs a bit deeper than anyone imagined. I’m not giving away any spoilers here because what do I look like? IGN? I WILL, however take this moment to get a little emotional.
“I KNEW IT!!!! I KNEW IT!!! I FUCKING KNEW IT!!!” Okay, I’m good. Moving on.
Tynion does a pretty good job of giving us a well balanced script with some quality “OMG” moments. Hell, even that old “Alfred’s ornery daughter” plotline managed to make some headway and just in time, too. Alfred has the patience of a saint for going this many issues voluntarily listening to his daughter repeatedly tell him he ain’t shit. Visually, Jason Fabok has the right idea. He’s been one of the best artists on the book anytime he’s taken the helm and nothing’s changed here. Some of the subtle details of the book REALLY set the tone for what’s to come. The best example is the scene in Blackgate Penitentiary when (Not Telling) walks by and you can see their faint smile and you KNOW the fix is in.
Bottom Line: Although he had less of a workload plotwise, Tynion gave us a pretty evenly paced raising of the curtain on Snyder’s grand plan. 9 out of 10.